What is a Geriatric Care Manager? – A educational contribution from Lisa Meeks CMC, CTRS

Lisa's pictureOne thing I have learned as a social worker is when a client is staring me in the face with an issue – I go primarily to what I know. Especially in a time of stress, (which is basically daily in our job), I find this is the moment where I have to use the resources I am familiar with or use the knowledge base in my brain to assist with the issue. I find that I have had little time to do research regarding areas of our field that can be more vague – or misunderstood. However, I have found that increased knowledge in these areas will lead to having the resources more on the forefront of my mind and more readily available to utilize in those times of need.
Thus, I have decided that as I am exploring areas in the field that could use a layer of greater understanding – I want to share the information I gather with you guys… Just in case it could be helpful to you as a caregiver or those in your care.

There are a few areas in the next couple of months that I want to highlight. I have asked a few of my community peers with years of experience in a few vague areas to help me have a greater understanding that I can share with you guys straight from those that have chosen those careers in this industry.. I will ask them to write a brief summary of how their services could help clients – and then give a success story to make their services “real” in our brains.

So – I will be sharing brief “write ups” regarding a few things that I think are worth sharing… All of these types of informational emails will start with “What is a….?”

The people that I have asked to contribute to these informational blasts are not exclusive to their fields – however, it will be someone that I have experienced working with in the field and that I feel comfortable will represent their services as a whole (not only in an attempt to gain business contacts).

If you have any other questions following the blast, feel free to reach out to the person directly for additional information (or seek someone you know in the same field to clarify).

I have asked Lisa Meeks with SeniorCare Options to highlight Geriatric Care Management. I know a few of you were able to meet Lisa at the Resource-A-Palooza event this past week… But, I felt it would be helpful to share generalized information about her field and how it can be helpful to our client base.

Professional Referral to a Geriatric Care Manager

Partnering with a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) can be an invaluable service for your clients, and a feather in your cap for you. GCMs have been in a growing profession since 1985, and can make a world of difference in the care of your clients.

· GCMs assess, advocate and coordinate services for your clients, such as: advocating inside the physician appointments, transportation, bill paying, alerting PCP and Home Health of a change in condition, etc.

· We embody the core tenets of Care Transitions by developing a personal medical record, reconciling medications, coordinating follow up care and identifying red flags to prevent readmissions. This can be crucial for the client with Dementia , clients with kids out of town, seniors who have just moved to the Atlanta area, or for the “only” child caring for a parent.

· For clients being treated by Home Health, GCMs can be the “glue” holding things together for the client when the treatments are deemed “no longer medically necessary.” Medicare will only pay for therapy as long as it meets criteria, but what about the clients that are in a gray area in their medical condition? Not quite bad enough to warrant Medicare reimbursement? Additionally, many seniors see more than one physician or specialists, but no one is quite “in-charge” of the over-all care for the senior. A GCM can communicate and translate back to the family to coordinate medical care.

· For Hospice clients, GCMs can assist in the care coordination of the surviving spouse, when the primary caregiver passes away.

· For families caring from a distance, with a GCM as the point person can save time, money and heartache. Imagine the costs of a last minute flight and hotel stay for a family member called in for a crisis. They may also lose wages for the time they miss at work in caring for an elderly parent. Having a GCM can save time and money by managing the crisis and reporting back to the family, so there is no unnecessary travel, and they can provide guidance to the family should the condition truly require their presence. A GCM can proactively prevent hospitalization by close observation of condition changes that could easily be missed and quickly escalate. One great client had said, “ Having a GCM is cheaper than a broken hip…” Many families do not know the medical or aging arena, and may make unwise choices because they simply have no experience in dealing with aging issues. Another challenge for many caretaking families is the “sandwich generation”, those caring for aging loved ones as well as children at home. They are stretched for time and patience in additional to the other resources mentioned above.

· GCMs are fee-based and privately paid to remain objective in guiding the clients to the resources that best serve their needs. Long Term Care Insurance may reimburse for assessments and care coordination, depending on the policy. If the client has other resources or benefits, it may free up finances to pay for other not covered services, such as a GCM.

An Example of Service Provision – A Success Story!:

SeniorCare Options was asked to assess an 89 y/o lady who was moved from Florida to the Atlanta area by her Granddaughter, due to a CABG that was not healing properly. She was placed in a SNF, and was exhibiting signs of failure to thrive. We assessed her and found she had left-sided neglect from an old CVA that was not being addressed. We gave the granddaughter several options for improving care for the client, and we ultimately hired a private duty agency and caregiver to attend to the client. We educated the caregiver on encouraging nutritional supplements and about the left neglect. Soon the client’s wounds began to heal and she gained enough weight back to participate in her therapies. She “graduated” to an Assisted Living and had good quality of life for an additional 7 years. SeniorCare Options remained involved to assist the Granddaughter in making healthcare choices as her Grandmother’s needs changed over time.

Contact information for Lisa Meeks:
Office – 770-579-9177
Cell – 404-992-3453
Email – lisam@seniorcareopt.com
Website – http://www.SeniorCareOpt.com

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One Response to What is a Geriatric Care Manager? – A educational contribution from Lisa Meeks CMC, CTRS

  1. Dara McMillan says:

    Knowing about Geriatric Care Management is such a helpful tool to have in your pocket to help families and Lisa Meeks/Senior Care Options is a wonderful resource to know more about! I have not only referred to Senior Care Options but I’ve also used Lisa as a resource to “run” an idea or question by and she is always so helpful and such a great listener too! -Dara McMillan, LMSW

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